The first offshore licensing round for Somalia has launched online. Despite coronavirus and disputes with state governments, the national government is proceeding with plans for extraction licensing.

The first auction will take place in August, licensing rights across seven blocks.

Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil have already secured a three-decade lease on some areas via a joint venture.

Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said he hoped offshore development would give the country a steady source of revenue.

He said: “The opportunities for the international exploration and development majors are enormous. Somalia is committed to attracting investment and promoting partnership and business in all segments of the oil and gas industry value chain.”

Post Online Media reported the minister as saying the licensing would be transparent and fair, with the country using the revenue to construct a dynamic and sustainable economy.